06.03.2019

Role of Equal Opportunities in Inclusive Development Discussed

TSKB and AFD held another conference on equal opportunities and women's employment for the third year in a row, this time under the theme "Equal Opportunities for Inclusive Development". Delivering the opening speech for the conference, Suat İnce, TSKB CEO, highlighted the importance of equal opportunities in development. "Development is a goal that could only be attained with the participation of people from all walks of life, chiefly of women. At TSKB, we have been offering funds, consultancy services and social responsibility projects to the private sector for so long and diligently deliver our responsibility to the fullest. The support and additional funds from our global business partners boost our motivation further." Emilie Huang, Deputy Director of AFD to Turkey, highlighted that "equality between men and women is a moral obligation, represents a clear path to foster a sustainable development and the reduction of inequalities, but it is also good for business."

Industrial Development Bank of Turkey (TSKB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) support companies through women-friendly loans in order for them to take concrete and measurable steps for women's employment and once again stressed the importance of equal opportunities during the conference "Equal Opportunities for Inclusive Development". Organized for the third time in a row, the conference also hosted, as a guest speaker, Gülden Yılmaz, Board Member at Koton and a successful female entrepreneur of Turkey. The conference was held at the French Palace and had three distinct sessions to bring in a multidimensional perspective on equal opportunities.

"Women's labor force participation is a key opportunity for Turkey"

Delivering the opening speech for the conference, Suat İnce, TSKB CEO, stressed that development could only be attained with the active participation of people from all walks of life, chiefly of women, in economy. "Aware of this, we at TSKB try to realize our development goal on the basis of sustainability and inclusiveness. To that end, the loan program on women's employment which we launched in cooperation with the AFD two years ago sets an example for inclusive development in our country. We co-designed a loan theme and secured a loan of EUR 100 million to kick off a social development project with a focus on women's employment and occupational health and safety. Two years elapsed since then, and the post-loan women's employment rate at the companies receiving the funds increased by about 20%. The scores from the first appraisal improved significantly following additional improvements by the companies. Such an improvement through a fund of only EUR 100 million is highly satisfactory. However, what makes us happiest is that we have been able to reveal the potential on the matter."

İnce highlighted that women's labor force participation presented major opportunities globally and in Turkey and said, "At TSKB, we have been offering funds and consultancy services to the private sector for so long and diligently deliver our responsibility to the fullest. The support and additional funds from our global business partners boost our motivation further. In addition, we assume responsibility in our policies, projects and practices to maintain our high score as a women-friendly company. We will keep on supporting equal opportunities and women's employment for an inclusive and sustainable development in our country."

Emphasizing “the necessity of taking into account social impacts when financing a project - among which equality between men and women is of prior importance –”during her speech, Emilie Huang, Deputy Director of AFD to Turkey, said, "we are convinced that financial institutions have a duty and a key role to play in terms of fostering change in practices in favor of gender equality."

Women's employment and equal opportunities in every aspect

During the first session of the conference, three female economists highlighted the economic aspect of equal opportunities and women's employment. The session was moderated by Burcu Ünüvar, Chief Economist at TSKB, with Zümrüt İmamoğlu, PhD, Chief Economist at TUSIAD, and Güneş Aşık, PhD, from the Department of Economics at TOBB University delivering speeches.

In the second session, Canan Coşkun, Head of Corporate Communications at TSKB, and Konca Çalkıvik, Secretary General at BCSD Turkey, informed the audience on the Equal Steps (Eşit Adımlar) Platform launched as a cooperation effort among TSKB, AFD and BCSD Turkey. The Equal Steps Platform (www.esitadimlar.com) presents success stories regarding equal opportunities and aims to encourage all economic players. It offers research results, road maps and examples of current practices to guide all companies that want to create some room for their improvement.

The last session was moderated by Semih Tümen, PhD, from the Department of Economics at TED University and focused on Development Finance Models Focusing on Gender Equality. Julie Guillonneau, Banking and Finance Project Manager at AFD; Ximena V. Del Carpio, Leader of Social Inclusiveness Platform at IBRD; Özen Tümer, Coordinator of EBRD Gender Equality Program to Turkey; and Sammar Essmat, Gender Equality and Private Sector Expert at IFC, shared striking examples and measurement mechanisms they launched for women-friendly funding. The participating DFIs reaffirmed that increasing Labor Force Participation of Women presents a critical development opportunity for Turkey. Participating DFIs therefore aim to continue to work with financial institutions and intermediaries to expand availability of funding and aim to play a more prominent role going forward.

The conference ended with the International Women's Day Reception hosted by Bertrand Buchwalter, French Consul General to Istanbul.

Türkiye Sınai Kalkınma BankasıTurkey’s comprehensive environmental portal cevreciyiz.com is supported by TSKB.